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  • Rotem Stark

Am I a bad mom....?

Mom pushing a stroller
Busy mom trying to do it all

While motherhood is a remarkable and life-altering journey, it tends to come with some emotional complexities.

With the mounting responsibilities and expectations moms have that are never-ending, there just aren't enough hours in the day for you to do everything you or society expects of you. Playdates, after-school activities, dishes, homework, bedtimes, tantrums, oh and don't forget a full-time job!

If you are a mother who is dealing with guilt, know that you are not alone in this!

Mom guilt is a very natural and universal experience but can be gut-wrenching and disorienting. Unfortunately, this emotional burden is one many carry in silence.

The fact that you even struggle with this guilt shows the effort, concern, and love you have for your child. Your guilt is a testament to the commitment you have to this role as a mother. Nevertheless, it is important to understand this feeling so it doesn't debilitate you from living your life and enjoying your parenthood.

If this guilt starts to overwhelm you, it may lead you to experience depression or anxiety. Guilt is a complex emotion that could manifest in different ways and start to interfere with your life.

Why are you experiencing mom guilt?

  • The comparison game:

We all want to be the best in our roles but when we set goals that are very difficult to reach, it creates a formula for inevitable disappointment. In these situations, especially with the rise of social media, this guilt may be fueled by comparing yourself to other mothers. Whether you are reading a ‘mommy blog’ or scrolling on Instagram, it is important to remember that you don’t know the full story. It is easy to look at social media and think others are doing more, or are doing it all better but there is a great chance that behind the scenes, they are feeling just like you. Remember that social media often showcases curated, idealized versions of others' lives. Try not to compare yourself to these distorted images. Of course, we all compare, but being mindful when those thoughts show up is key.

  • Work-life balance:

Mom guilt can come up for many working moms due to a variety of factors and pressures associated with having to balance a career and motherhood. We expect ourselves to maintain a spotless home, cook gourmet meals, engage in endless creative activities with our children, maintain a thriving social life and also excel in our careers. You may feel guilty about having limited time to spend with your children due to job constraints. You can also even feel this guilt triggered by having to choose childcare options.

While your feelings of worry and concerns about being separated from your child are entirely understandable, try trusting your caregiver and remember that the majority of children do prosper when their parents work full-time. If your job brings you joy and fulfillment, the people around you will only benefit.

  • Postpartum depression:

If you are experiencing excessive guilt, it may be best to consult a Psychotherapist as these feelings can also be caused by postpartum depression. Postpartum mothers often experience symptoms such as sleep deprivation, profound feelings of sadness, and fear of being incapable of managing the challenges of parenthood. All of which can lead to feelings of guilt and self-doubt.

Ways to overcome mom guilt

Many strategies can be implemented if you are struggling to cope with your guilty feelings. Some include:

  • Identify the sources of guilt

The first step in dealing with it is to acknowledge how common it is and realize that you are not alone in this. It may help to get a journal where you can take note of what is making you feel this worry. This can help you become more aware of what is causing your guilt so that you can take action to address it.

  • Setting realistic expectations Accept that perfection is unattainable. Your child won't be harmed by the occasional fast-food dinner, and a messy house won't ruin their childhood. What matters most is the love and connection you share.

  • Prioritize Self-Care

Understand that taking care of yourself is not selfish. It's a necessity. Make time for activities that replenish your energy, whether it's exercise, reading, or simply enjoying a quiet moment alone.

  • Talk to a professional

Seeking therapy when experiencing mom guilt can be highly beneficial for several reasons. It can provide you with a safe and non-judgmental environment where you can freely express your feelings of guilt. It can help you determine your parenting style and find the confidence you need to adjust to this new role. Therapy can also help you understand that mom guilt is a common experience and that many coping strategies can be learned to reduce its negative impact on your well-being and relationships.

For more information on mom guilt and strategies to help you transition to parenthood, book a 15-minute consultation with Stark Wellness Clinic or contact us.

Until next time,

Rotem Stark, Mpsy, RP, Stark Wellness Clinic


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